Athens ( ATH-inz; Greek: Αθήνα, romanized: Athína [aˈθina] (listen); Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, romanized: Athênai (pl.) [atʰɛ̂ːnai̯]) is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica area and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its history spanning over 3,400 decades and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th century BC.Classical Athens was a strong city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to its cultural and political effect on the European continent, and particularly the Romans. These days, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, financial, industrial, marine, cultural and political life in Greece.
Athens is a Beta worldwide city based on the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and is one of the biggest economic centers in southeastern Europe. It has a large financial industry, and its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world.The Municipality of Athens (also City of Athens), which really constitutes a tiny administrative unit of the entire city, had a population of 664,046 (in 2011) within its official limits, and a land area of 38.96 km2 (15.04 sq mi). The Athens Urban Area (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 (in 2011) within an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi). According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area (FUA) of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union (the 6th most populous capital city of the EU), with a population of 3.
Sofia ( SOH-fee-ə, SOF-; Bulgarian: София, romanized: Sofiya, IPA: [ˈsɔfijɐ] (listen)) is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. It is situated in the eponymous valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western parts of the country. The city is built west of the Iskar river, and has many mineral springs, such as the Sofia Central Mineral Baths. It has a humid continental climate. Being in the centre of the Balkans, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and closest to the Aegean Sea.Known as Serdica in Antiquity and Sredets in the Middle Ages, Sofia has been an area of human habitation since at least 7000 BC. The recorded history of the city begins with the attestation of the conquest of Serdica by the Roman Republic in 29 BC from the Celtic tribe Serdi. During the decline of the Roman Empire, the city was raided by Huns, Visigoths, Avars and Slavs. In 809 Serdica was incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire by Khan Krum and became known as Sredets. In 1018, the Byzantines ended Bulgarian rule until 1194, when it was reincorporated by the reborn Bulgarian Empire. Sredets became a major administrative, economic, cultural and literary hub until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1382. From 1530 to 1826, Sofia was the regional capital of Rumelia Eyalet, the Ottoman Empire's key province in Europe. Bulgarian rule was restored in 1878. Sofia was selected as the capital of the Third Bulgarian State in the next year, ushering a period of intense demographic and economic growth.
Sofia is the 13th largest city in the European Union. It is surrounded by mountainsides, such as Vitosha by the southern side, Lyulin by the western side, and the Balkan Mountains by the north, which makes it the third highest European capital after Andorra la Vella and Madrid. Being Bulgaria's primate city, Sofia is home of many of the major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. The city has been described as the "triangle of religious tolerance".
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